The Best Laid Plans Oft Go Awry But Better Than No Plan

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meal plan listIt all starts with a good plan. Sounds simple enough, but I think a lot of people underestimate the power of planning when trying to stay on track with getting healthy. How will you know if you’re on track if you don’t have a plan to get yourself there? It’s not just about winging it this time.

Yes, it’s important to write down everything you eat during the day, but it is even more important to plan ahead for the week. If you have everything planned out, it’s like a puzzle that is all put together. If something unexpected comes up like a happy hour or work lunch, you just need to move your puzzle pieces around and fit them together in a different way.

Pick a day where you have about 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. OK, aim for minimally interrupted time. I do my planning on Sunday mornings while I watch mindless TV and drink my coffee. I usually start with the macros (amounts of fats/proteins/carbs) that I’m allotted each day and break it down by how much I’m going to eat with each meal and snack.

Play with the outline a bit so that you have your calories and macros correct before getting more detailed. Once I have the daily outline set and the numbers lined up, I get creative from there. For example, breakfast might be 4 oz protein and 6 oz fruit in the outline but written as 5 egg whites and 6 oz blueberries on one day and 2 turkey sausages and strawberries on another. Darn it, now I want turkey sausages and berries!

Many times I’m pretty boring and I eat the same thing for the week but I vary the spices or
condiments I use. If you’re really creative and have time on your hands, you can scan the store fliers and plan your meals around sales and coupons. I’m not that focused and don’t usually put that much effort into it.

After everything is laid out for the week, check to see what you’ve already got on hand in your fridge or pantry. Create your grocery list right on the same sheet of paper and be ready to hit the grocery store. Don’t forget your coupons before heading out! Once you do this a few times, it becomes second nature and goes really quickly.

I’m all for convenience so I even set up a spreadsheet that I fill in with my plan for the week. It totals everything up for me and creates my grocery list. I just print the list and go. If something does come up during the week, you’ll have your macros for the meal already created and can just substitute on the fly. Try doing that without a plan in place and it won’t be as easy.

Do you plan out your weeks? What process do you use?

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